"With Mersey Maritime’s help in securing ERDF funding, we have been able to strengthen our team and are better able to cope with peaks in demand.”
Les Heather, Drake Ports Distribution Services
Drake Ports Distribution Services - SME Case Study
Drake Ports Distribution Services is at the very heart of the Mersey’s thriving ports industry. The firm provides cargo handling services for the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal (RSCT) at the Port of Liverpool and the Twelve Quays Ro-Ro operation across the river in Birkenhead. In total, DPDS employs 220 operatives at RSCT and 23 at Twelve Quays. Its highly skilled workforce is trained to operate a variety of equipment used to transport and lift goods and containers on and off vessels and around the container terminals. This includes gantry cranes, straddle carriers, forklift trucks and driving tractor units.
In 2011 DPDS urgently needed support to train and select a new intake of workers to cope with increased demand. DPDS head of health and safety Les Heather said the firm turned to Mersey Maritime who were able to provide support via the European Regional Development Fund to help train new workers.
“Our training demand is massive,” said Mr Heather. “We take people with no previous experience of working in a container terminal and equip them with a range of skills that allow them to operate heavy machinery in occasionally very challenging conditions. For example, our fork lift trucks aren’t conventional 2.5 tonne vehicles, they’re 46 tonnes. So we really do need to recruit the most able people and train them in the best possible facilities.”
Mr Heather said DPDS used the state of the art training facilities at the Maritime and Engineering College North West (MECNW) in Birkenhead to complete the training.
“The facilities at MECNW are terrific,” he said. “We received a huge amount of support from MECNW and Mersey Maritime to help ensure we gained maximum benefit from the ERDF programme and had a clear programme in place. With the college’s help we pulled together a pre-employment selection programme to test out candidates on the simulator equipment and see who was best fit for the job. In total we put 21 people through the training and offered five candidates full time positions. We were delighted that all 21 applicants finished the selection programme and received a fork lift truck licence.”
Mr Heather said that, as a result of the training, DPDS has a stronger and better workforce.
“There are fluctuations in demand in our industry,” he said. “Volumes of containers through the port go up and down. However, with Mersey Maritime’s help in securing ERDF funding we have been able to strengthen our team and are better able to cope with peaks in demand. Moreover, with MECNW so close at hand we have access to superb facilities to identify and train our future workforce.”
How Can I Access this Support?
To find out how your business could benefit from ERDF funding through the Maritime Sector Development Programme, call Mersey Maritime on 0151 647 4747 or email Tim Morgan on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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